Emergency Care

Emergencies while wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances generally fall into two categories:

  1. Direct injury to the mouth or teeth, from a fall or hard blow; or,
  2. Discomfort related to new appliances, a loose wire, or a bracket. 

Direct Injuries to the Mouth and Teeth

Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth (whether undergoing orthodontic care or not), immediately ice the injured area, and then contact your general dentist as soon as possible. Usually, an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to determine the extent of the injury. If a tooth has been displaced, knocked out, or fractured, contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials or anesthesia required to treat these injuries.

If orthodontic appliances are dislodged, displaced, or damaged, we will need to replace or adjust the appliances as soon as possible, after you have seen your general dentist (depending upon your comfort level).  

Emergencies Related to Orthodontic Appliances

Occasionally, appliances might be broken or bent during your orthodontic care. If there are any disturbances, such as loose bands, loose brackets, broken or poking wires, please call our office for an appointment during patient hours. In the meantime, here are some helpful hints to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until our office can see you…

  • Wire poking/irritating your mouth: Cover it with wax or tuck it under the arch wire with a blunt object like a pencil eraser or Q-tip.
  • Loose band or bracket: Call our office during patient hours.
  • We’ll ask you some questions to determine if you need to be seen ASAP, or if it can wait until your next scheduled appointment. 
  • Broken/poking arch-wire: This can often be bent in with a pencil eraser or snipped with nail clippers (see the video below). If you’ve tried all the above and are still in discomfort, call our office, during patient hours for an appointment.
  • Spacer or Separator Falls Out: You can try to replace the Spacer yourself by threading a couple pieces of floss through it and then pulling it under and up between the teeth. Then remove the floss. If that doesn’t work, call our office for an appointment.

  • Headgear Discomfort: It’s super important to wear your headgear as instructed, so first, refer to your treatment instructions. The more you wear your headgear, the less discomfort you’ll experience, so be sure you’re wearing it for the prescribed number of hours per day. If the face-bow is bent, call our office for assistance. 

After Office Hours

If an orthodontic emergency arises where you are in severe orthodontic pain after office hours, please call our office at 717-235-0559. Information will be provided for afterhours assistance.

Quick-Fixes You Can Do Yourself